July 4, 2020

Self Care: Y'know It Don't Come Easy

Dr. Laurie Santos shared a fascinating insight on Dax Sheppard's podcast: Expert Armchair.

What you are motivated to get is completely separate from what you're actually going to appreciate once you get it. There is a part of your brain designed for wanting and craving, and another part of your brain that governs liking and satisfaction.

I'll give you some real world examples. Some people spend all of their time and energy working toward getting into that prestigious school. Other people strive to get a promotion at some competitive business firm. And then there are those who get their fix from junk food, sex, or psychoactive substances. The list goes on. People are designed to crave money, status, and instant gratification. But does the feeling of accomplishing these things last?

Most of us know that we will benefit from various acts of self care. For whatever reason, activities like exercise, journaling, and eating healthy take up a lot of mental energy.

Take meditation for instance, we know we'll feel better after we do it... but for whatever reason, most of us aren't naturally inclined to meditate. Instead, we might binge watch the latest series just to return to our rooms before bedtime feeling regret as we look at the overflowing stack of laundry in the corner.

The craving system and the liking system are disconnected. How awesome would it be if our brain was able to reset after noticing, "Hey! Meditating actually reduced my stress today. Let's crave it tomorrow!" But no. What's good doesn't come easy.

How inconvenient.

So, for those of you who think, "One day I'll want to go on that run!" Yeah, maybe. But probably not.

Just Do It turns out to be more than just a slogan.

Meanwhile, I'll be over here waiting for that day when we find out how to kick in that motivation some other way.

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